September 4, 2020
Your Frontline Hero
Landscape Ontario celebrates frontline heroes

In the Summer of 2020, Landscape Ontario launched the Garden Makeover Program as a way to recognize the dedication of frontline workers across the province.The association received over 1,000 nominations from friends, neighbours, patients and family members, who each shared incredible stories of selflessness, devotion and compassion.

Landscape Ontario is proud to announce the 10 frontline heroes who will receive garden makeovers. Over the coming weeks, Landscape Ontario professional members will be consulting with the winners to create plans suited to each hero’s lifestyle. The projects will be completed this fall or next spring, thanks to generous donations from Landscape Ontario member companies.

Are you a Landscape Ontario Member and want to volunteer to support the Garden Makeover Program?


$25,000 Garden Makeover (one winner)
sandra lister
Sandra Lister, Pefferlaw, Ont.
A Registered Nurse (RN) at Toronto Western Hospital with over two decades experience, Sandra worked on both a SARS unit in 2003 and a Covid-19 unit this year. Sandra contracted Covid-19 in April, but showed extraordinary dedication by returning to work after making a full recovery. An avid gardener, Sandra is the mother of five children.

$5,000 Garden Makeovers (nine winners)
Jada Parcells
Jada Parcells, Bowmanville, Ont.
Jada has worked as a nurse at Markham Stouffville Hospital for more than 20 years, and has served as team lead for its Covid-19 Assessment Centre since the outbreak began in March. In the spring, Jada stepped in to help at Markham’s Participation House after a Covid-19 outbreak spread through all of the home’s residents and staff members. A mother of two, Jada is passionate about gardening.
Sandra Best
Sandra Best, Orillia, Ont.
Sandra works at the David Busby Centre, a community not-for-profit organization, which advocates for individuals and families within the County of Simcoe who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Sandra has worked tirelessly during the pandemic to support people facing tremendous challenges. Sandra’s garden is “her escape and her happy place.”
Rebecca Davis
Rebecca Davis, Grimsby, Ont.
An ICU nurse at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ont., for over 20 years, Rebecca is a breast cancer survivor, who had just recently returned to work following cancer treatment when the pandemic struck in March. Rebecca lives with her husband Ed who is also a nurse, and their two children. Rebecca says after taking two years off from really looking after their garden, they could definitely use some assistance — something the couple is so used to giving others each and every day.
Lisa Fernandes
Lisa Fernandes, St. Thomas, Ont.
Lisa is a Personal Support Worker at Caressant Care Mary Bucke in St. Thomas, Ont., — a place she calls her second home. To Fernandes, colleagues and residents are family. During the pandemic, Lisa has done everything she can to support her work family — even letting a younger colleague stay at her home to help minimize the risk to the colleague’s family. Lisa loves spending time in her backyard with Bruno and Sasha, her Italian mastiff/boxers.


Elise DaPonti
Elise and Marc-Andre Da Ponti, Clarence-Rockland, Ont.
Frontline workers, Elise and Marc-Andre took on extra work to support their communities during the pandemic, often working on call and extended 16 hour shifts. Elise is a nurse in the ICU at Ottawa General Hospital, and Marc-Andre works as a paramedic for the City of Ottawa. With an upcoming move into a new home, the couple are excited for help with their outdoor space from Landscape Ontario professionals.

Alexis Wakelin
Alexis Wakelin, Gananoque, Ont.
Alexis is a Personal Support Worker at Carveth Care Centre in Gananoque, Ont. where she “goes beyond the call of duty,” according to her nomination. A single mom and dedicated minor hockey volunteer, Alexis has taken on extra work to support patients during the pandemic.
Jessica Graff
Jessica Graff, Kitchener, Ont.
A nurse in the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, Ont. since 2006, Jessica is dedicated to her profession and says her favourite part of her job is making connections with patients and helping support people in their times of greatest need. Unfortunately, Jessica lost two family members to Covid-19, both of which became patients at St. Mary's before they passed. However, Jessica remains steadfast in her determination to serve her community during the pandemic.
Jessica Graff
Shelley Brillinger, Mount Albert, Ont.
Shelley Brillinger is the executive director of Participation House, a home for adults living with intellectual and physical disabilities  in Markham, Ont. and her husband Matt is a respiratory therapist at Scarborough Garce Hospital. The Brillingers made the generous decision to donate their garden makeover to Participation House. “The residents and staff of PHM have been through so much this year and this would be something positive for them to look forward to next spring,” Brillinger said. “Our residents spend many hours in our courtyard and beautifying the space would benefit everyone greatly. We have many empty gardens and a courtyard that could use some TLC.”


Dan Monk
Laura and Brad Renaud pay it forward to Megan and Dan Monk, Amherstburg, Ont.
Laura (pharmacy technician) and Brad Renaud (volunteer firefighter) are dedicated frontline workers who made the selfless decision to pay the garden makeover forward to firefighter colleague Dan Monk and his wife Megan during a time of great stress for the Monk family. Megan was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer, and the firefighter community in Amherstburg has rallied to support her. Dan and Megan are parents to newborn Cid and four year old Freya.

Media Contact: Scott Barber
ribbon cutting at a new school garden
woman taking photos of plants in a garden
group holding a cheque donation
Landscape Ontario members have made a difference in local communities across the province through various volunteer projects and fundraising efforts for nearly 50 years.